From speech comes writing, and a counsel: "Do not make many words (Ankhsheshonq)." [Sebayt]. Yet, the papyrus of Ankhsheshonq contains many words too - that is, according to the count "one, two - many."
The word "many" has no special upper limit, so it is often understood quite vaguely and in different ways by diffferent people when used, and they include: "plenty of; countless; loads of; masses of; tons of; dozens of; hundreds of; thousands of; millions of; billions of; zillions of; gazillions of; bazillions of; myriad; divers." (Oxford Dictionaries).
In this case, we are left to guess how many words "many words" could mean in its original setting. "Keep it sweet and short (KISS)" is often well, and the stands of Plain English and similar in other languages too.
When writing, it may be a good idea to have a range of synonyms at hand for the sake of being more precise if that can be. The instruction "Do not make many immature guidelines, disproved money charges in court, and claims that look like big boasts because they are without good evidence," may go against lip service to Yogananda. But if he had heeded such pieces of advice he might have ended up less disappointed with most of the American followers he had got after initiating over 150 000 in kriya yoga. At one time during his last four years he said to a disciple, "Apart from [one follower] every man has disappointed me." (Novak 2005, Chap. 6)
That spells a lot of disappointments his way. At last he decided to live in a hut bordering on a desert. His biographer, Sailendra Dasgupta writes about that. (2006 104).
To avoid being gravely disappointed, do not expect so very much of others. Let them, rather, surprise you in good ways. And get skilled as a "navigator:" trim the sails of expectations and ways of living to the winds and weather, adjusting along as our ship sails to reach a ripe old age despite untoward gales. The quoted Yogananda did not, but he also saw that people understood his words differently (Dietz 1998). That is quite a sign of being roundabout, not precise enough, or there could be several other reasons into it. Many and severe disappointments could suggest that healthy and fit realism and proper approaches might have been missing. What do you think?
Now, just how many are many or too many? How much is too much? Such conundrums are in some ways as shoulder pads - how much padding is too much? That depends in part on one's taste and in part on fashions. We may not grasp a shoulder if we take impressive padding for the real deal.
◎ Asking another to be specific, by "How many are too many?" may do good, but do not be too sure. Ask now: "How much is too sure?"
From a Yogananda organisation, many troubles
Yogananda was sent to the West to spread a form of kriya yoga. Yet he changed it, gave many talks and sermons, brought false and untrue money charges in court, got many books published - and withdrew much to a desert, away from the organisation he had founded, sleeping little for years, and dying of a heart attack at fifty-nine. He also wrote to India how he repented having started his organisation - Self-Realization Fellowship; it was like eating faeces, he found.
We may not take to heart a lesson of so from his fare. The organisation took over by and by. Now see how SRF's later, long-time leader, Daya Mata molested her guru's reputation after his death - she
herself signed a declaration, under oath, that Autobiography of a Yogi had not been written by Yogananda himself, but by a committee! [and, further, that] he had written Autobiography of a Yogi as a "work for hire."
◎ Don't put all the eggs of trust in the basket of others. Learn to discern soundly instead.
Looking for a torch
If you have something of value to be implemented and try to establish a company to help you, consider all that gets lost and wasted in it - time, concerns, wasted efforts, paperclips and much else. Parkinson's law (adage) with extensions refer to the self-satisfying, uncontrolled growth of the bureaucratic apparatus in an organisation, that primary barrier to efficient time management. (Parkinson 1957) (WP, "Parkinson's Law")
What if the organisation you once started to help you to carry the torch, works against many of your good ideals later, perhaps stifles and changes you, depletes you and makes you lose interest, living most of the time in a desert hut? Yogananda wrote what may be translated into:
Yogananda set SRF in motion and repented it in his way one day. Starting SRF was a foolish blunder, he wrote. Why he repented starting SRF, for how long he did, and what he might have done to remedy matters may remain in the dark for now. At any rate, SRF got momentum.
If the founder-guru reneged, it could be fair to shut down his organisation while it was small. But "too little, too late", perhaps, also in the light of the further, cloistery SRF fare. The SRF founder's handwritten letter is here: [◦Documentation: source file]
Yogananda realised that starting SRF was a grand mistake. He spent most of his final years in a secret hut bordering a desert east of Los Angeles. There he sat "for much of the last part of his life." (Dasgupta 2006, 102-3).
If you realise you have made a mistake and don't do anything to rectify it, but just backs off, troubles could be in store for you and perhaps for many others too. Better try to make future damages less rather than multiplying them. One way: keep the prospectively damaging elements "cloistered, walled in".
Some would say: "Yogananda regretted starting SRF, but that was long ago. Today Self-Realization Fellowship is headed and run by monastics in the USA, and therefore the organisation is taken well care of after one third of those monastics were reported to have left the SRF premises between 2000 and 2005 (Jon Parsons 2012, 170) - Things are just fine, I hope."
Well, on the surface SRF places might look peaceful as compared to downtown Los Angeles in general. However, one or more SRF monasteries also looked like peaceful havens, at least to Jane Dillon in her doctoral study that included one SRF nunnery or more. Her interviews with SRF monastics were made a few years before one third of the SRF monastics left. She did not see it coming. [More on Jane Dillon's Doctoral Dissertation] - It matters to discern between facade and what is going on actually. Lola Williamson writes about that.
A labyrinth of difficulties beset the organization. Some people could not even sit in the same room with others because there was so much bad feeling. . . . SRF hire[d] outside communication and organizational consultants to offer advice on how to handle the situation. They also suggested that SRF hire counselors and psychologists to deal with the festering psychological problems that s ome of the monastics seemed to be experiencing. Two new committees . . . were formed . . ." (Williamson 2010:76)
The problems were not solved well. There is more here: [Much more]
Not so peaceful - court cases
A good part of what SRF works for and lives by is basically Yogananda's lectures, sermons, talks and main aims. They fought in court for many long years for the needed copyrights to persist as sole publishers of books "by Yogananda" after they had edited him a lot. [Lite reviews of several Yogananda-related books]
Kriyananda was once an SRF monastic, and ended up with about the same teachings and ways of thinking as them, although SRF fought him and his Ananada Church for many years for the rights to Yogananda "bones" of writings, although Yogananda is quoted to have said to a direct disciple: "Don't take my word for anything. . . . Don't get hung up on words . . . please remember." (In Dietz 1998).
"Different strokes for different folks." Some benefit from good teachings.
SRF lost the right to much Yogananda material in that 12-year long legal feud with Ananda. SRF filed a massive lawsuit for trademark, publicity rights, and copyright infringement. The judge and jury did not favour SRF in all respects, but some of them. [◦Details]
The founder of Ananda, Swami Kriyananda, had got hold of lots of lands in 1968 - 160,000 m2 near Nevada City, California, and his spin-off society had 125 meditation groups in 19 countries before he passed away. Ananda presents itself as a global movement that is based on the teachings of Yogananda, and produces videos, articles, online books, and online classes and more.[◦Ananda Sangha]. — (WP, "Kriyananda")
Yogananda set wheels rolling. [His hailing of dictatorship in writing, in 1934]. However, living in an illusory world, as he says he did, his teachings would be of very little substance accordingly. He never seemed to think of that - or maybe it went into his "Don't take my word for anything . . ." to a woman disciple. (Dietz, 1998)
Another side to Yogananda pretence: A former associate of Yogananda, Dhirananda, sued Yogananda for eight thousand dollars that Yogananda had written he would pay, without doing it. Dhirananda found resources enough to go to court. In the trial of the lawsuit of Swami Dhirananda vs. Swami Yogananda,
Swami Yogananda accused Swami Dhirananda "of taking secretly, against Swami Yogananda's will, and without Swami Yogananda's consent the sum Twenty Thousand Sixty-Six Dollars and sixty-one cents ($20,066.61) in the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, State of California beginning on the 14th day of April, 1923 in the years 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, and up to and including the 24th day of April 1929." . . .
Then, on May 8, 1935, a janitor at Yogananda's headquarters in Los Angeles, found a box in an old rubbish heap in the basement there. In the box were said lost checks and cancelled checks or otherwise, books, confidential records, papers and files - proof that Dhirananda was right and Yogananda wrong. What was in the box was examined and all money charges made by Swami Yogananda against Swami Giri-Dhirananda were proven false and untrue. The verdict of the judge in the case, James MacLachlin, a past U.S. Congressional Senator from the Los Angeles area, was that Yogananda was to pay Dhirananda the eight thousand dollars he owed him. But then Yogananda left the country for a year and a half.
Two sebayt: "Better examine things well than ending up in court and accuse another unfairly."
By and by Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings turned into exhorting "God-lore" and the original kriya teachings were simplified and changed. At the same time the kriya hype was expanded. There may be no research on Yogananda's kriya lite to date. If that research is not forthcoming, one may neither forswear it nor promote it in public. That may be best, according to the American proverb, "Twin fools; one believes anything and the other believes nothing."
Under the influence of Yogananda
There is no sect without members, for "It takes two to tango". At least.
Around 2001-2002, one third of the SRF monastics at the time left the SRF premises (cf. Parsons 2012, 170). A resulting SRF Walrus was met with open disregard, disparaging and denigration among SRF-faithful ones. [◦SRF ex monastic issues and matters]
A good thing to say about many monastics may be: "They have probably not been hoarders." And then again, there are many forms of wealth, and some are fit. There is an accredited US university that aims to help life-management, self-management, ◦MUM, Maharishi's University of Management.
Insights like that may come ruefully late in a life.
Going for Jungian individuation
The Swiss psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung describes four characteristic stages in a transforming process.
Living up to one's sincere interests develops the personality, according to psychoanalytic thinking. Gordon Allport concurs.
Now, the process of maturation - not necessesarily stepwise - is essentially what Jung means by the individuation process. "The process of individuation, becoming conscious of what is truly unique about oneself, is inextricably tied up with individuality and the development of personality," the Jungian analyst Daryl Sharp puts it in Digesting Jung (2001, 63) — [Individuation]
Individuation is a process . . . having for its goal the development of the individual personality. - Carl Gustav Jung (in Sharp 2001, 63)
Fit sources to use as references so as not to be made a laughing-stock, may be marked by "well respected authors, solid publishers and preferably a fair academic credentials" to support them, along with clear and apt literature references. That way of presentation props up the writer by links to accepted resources of valued ideas. Quality-aligning may help a long way, academically. Better be aware that lots of posts by anonymous people on some discussion board may not pass as perfect references.
Newspaper articles - some good, some bad
Some years back a man said Yogananda was his biological father. [Los Angeles Times/July 11, 2002, by Teresa Watanabe]
To settle the claims, Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship let a fellowship attorney, Michael Flynn,initiate the first round of DNA testing on hair samples. It was found inconclusive. A second round of testing on blood samples last July showed no relationship. But Reed and Erskine rejected the results as biased because the blood specimens were collected and sent to the labs by a fellowship monk they claimed could have doctored the samples.
Now SRF hired G. Michael Still, a former San Diego prosecutor, who said he hired a forensic nurse to collect blood samples from Yogananda�s three male relatives in Calcutta, India. The forensic nurse videotaped and photographed the entire collection process, confirmed the identity of each of the relatives and oversaw the shipment of samples to two laboratories that worked blindly from each other. The two labs compared six Y chromosome markers, which Still said pass unchanged from one male generation to the next. Both concluded that the three Yogananda relatives were related genetically, but that Erskine was not.
At last the test process was carried through very well.
There are good witnesses and others. Abraham Maslow found that self-actualisating people are better at finding out or judging than all the rest [1987, Chap. 11]. But to judge who are best self-actualised, is not always easy. A discerning mind can do it, however. [A study]
Dietz, Margaret Bowen Dietz. Thank You, Master. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 1998, "Master's Teachings".
Kriyananda, Swami. The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda. 3nd ed. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2010.
⸻. A Place Called Ananda. Rev. 2nd ed. Nevada City: Hansa Trust: 2001.
Maslow, Abraham. 1987. Motivation and Personality. 3rd ed. New York: HarperCollins.
Nikhilananda, Swami. The Upanishads. Abr. ed. New York: Harper Torchbook, 1964.
⸻. The Upanishads: Aitareya and Brihadaranyaka. Vol. 3. 1st ed. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1956.
Novak, Devi. Faith is My Armor: The Life of Swami Kriyananda. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity, 2005.
Parkinson, C. Northcote. Parkinson's Law: And Other Studies in Administration. Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1957.
Parsons, Jon R. A Fight for Religious Freedom: A Lawyer's Personal Account of Copyrights, Karma and Dharmic Litigation. Nevada City, CA: Crystal Clarity Publishers, 2012.
Satyeswarananda, sw., tr: Inner Victory: With Lahiri Mahasay's Commentaries. San Diego: The Sanskrit Classics, 1987.
Sharp, Daryl. Digesting Jung: Food for the Journey. Toronto: Inner City Books, 2001.
Williamson, Lola. Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion. London: New York University Press, 2010.
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